View Full Version : Rain Gear

10-08-2006, 08:04 PM
I've been commuting by bike 5 miles to and from work for the past 4-5 months. I've enjoyed it so much that I sold my commuter car and plan to bike all through the winter. So far for rain gear I've got a nice waterproof jacket, waterproof pants, and a helmut cover. I'm planning on picking up gloves this week.

What I'm wondering about are shoes... The first day I road in the rain, my shoes were soaked by the time I got to work (and they were still wet when I left that evening). I tried on a pair of waterproof "booties", but I can't see them being very comfortable, or even lasting more than a few rides. I'm wondering about waterproof socks. Do you just sacrafice the shoes and keep your feet dry? Are there any better options?

Also, when it's been foggy in the morning, my eye glasses mist over as soon as I get going. I need them to see, unfortunatly. Is there a trick to keeping them dry while riding? Just carry a towel?


TCR Punk
10-08-2006, 08:15 PM
I pack an extra pair of shoes and socks. I go glasses free.

10-09-2006, 07:16 AM
I wore a set of neoprene booties all winter last year. While they arent totally waterproof, and I would be skeptical of any brand claiming to be so- especially if you ride clipless pedals, they did make a vast difference. Not only with wet feet, but keeping your feet warm once you have wet shoes. They are shot this year so I will have to get a new pair, but theyre a good investment. The brand I bought was some italian brand that velcroed in the back.

On this note I think with some fender customization you can avoid wet feet pretty well. Most of the water hitting feet seems to come off the front tire, so if you extend your fenders until they are almost touching the ground and then have a mud flap as well I think youd be pretty good. I saw a guy with this set up last year, and while I havent personally done it it looked like it worked pretty well.

While youre at work try to store your shoes in a warm area- I keep mine in the boiler room- and maybe theyll be dry by the end of the day, just in time to get soaked again.

10-09-2006, 10:29 AM
I've been commuting to and from work by bike for over 10 years, year-round. 6 of those years have been in Portland.

On rainy days I resign myself to the fact that I'm going to get wet. So I pack my work clothes in my bag and dress for the bike ride with keeping warm in mind.

Between 50-55 degrees with rain this is what I wear:

Base layer - a relatively thin, long-sleeved wool blend shirt made by Craft. I don't remember what I paid for this shirt because I bought it over 5 years ago - so it's been well worth whatever I paid...and I was poorer back then.

Over the Craft shirt I wear something short-sleeved and synthetic. If you're biking over 5 miles you don't want to overdo it or you'll get too hot.

Gloves - I'm currently using a pair of wool, fingerless gloves I got from an army surplus store, and they work just fine.

Legs - A pair of spandex shorts that go down just below the knee. Over those I wear a pair of synthetic/cotton blend cut-off (just below the knee) shorts.

Feet - Your feet will get wet. Don't skimp on socks! I use Smartwool's thick wool socks which keep my feet toasty, even when wet. They're a little pricey, but they'll last a really long time.

Use full-fenders with the mud flaps like indicated on previous posts.

Head - Rox (and others) make a polyprene thing you can put over your head, which covers your ears, and is held snuggly in place once you put your helmet on. This works very well and I've been using the same one for around 5 years.

40-50 degrees:

Instead of the thin synthetic shirt, I'll wear a long-sleeved synthetic shirt over the Craft. If it's in the low 40s I'll wear arm-warmers (Pearl Izumi makes nice fleece-lined ones) under the Craft shirt.

40 and below:

Everything the same as above except:

Instead of the long-sleeved synthetic shirt over the Craft base-layer, I'll wear a thick wool sweater over. Again, I got a nice one from an army surplus store for pretty cheap.(Arm warmers might be a good idea under everything)

Gloves - You'll want some full-fingered gloves at this point. Sidetrack makes some really warm ones.

Balaclava - Pearl makes these cool, ninja looking balaclavas you can wear over your face for when it gets really cold.

If your calves start to get cold in colder weather, Pearl also makes leg warmers.

10-10-2006, 04:55 PM
Thanks a lot. That's exactly the kind of detailed advise I was looking for!


10-12-2006, 02:36 PM
on cool days (like this f'n morning), i tend to use polypro long johns under my shorts, a shirt and my f'n windbreaker.

I had taco salad last night, btw.

BUT for rain, get some fenders. If you're not riding clipless (like myself), I've found that Burley makes a decent bootie. It really helps. I also sport neoprene socks. On days that my neoprene socks are nasty, I layer my feets like so: feet, wool sock, coolmax sock (it helps to retain heat), shoe, then das boot...ie.


10-12-2006, 05:34 PM
yeah, i didn't allow for the fact that not everyone has wooly mammoth legs like myself.

10-14-2006, 07:57 PM
All of the above advice sounds good, but I would like to add a trick I picked up. If you put a produce bag (we eat a lot of veggies, so we have a surplus)over your bare feet, then put on wool socks, then another produce bag over the sock, it will keep your feet ALOT warmer when (not if) they get wet. Tuck the bags up inside of your tights/warmer to keep them out out the chain. I usually run with neoprene booties as well and they certainly keep your feet warmer, but they will be wet. BTW, last winter I was commuting 33ish miles round-trip 2-3 times per week from the 'couv, so I certainly hit some wet stuff. Good luck and thanks for riding!!